Why Is Swaddling Becoming Popular?

In the last few decades there has been a revival in the practice of swaddling babies. An example is a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, (May 14, 2013) A Better Night’s Sleep for All that provides the latest information about baby swaddling to prospective parents.  The subject of swaddling is juxtaposed with the subject of infant death syndrome (SIDS).  A correlation is then made between SIDS cases to unsafe sleep environments.  From there, the article goes on to discuss better methods of swaddling.  The reason given for swaddling is that it provides “a better night’s sleep for all.”

The article is a typical manifestation of the emotional plague in operation in everyday life.  The association of  swaddling with SIDS has the effect of frightening people into swaddling their infants.  The reason to swaddle, to insure a good night’s sleep for all, is given to justify the practice with a “good intention”and to provide the parents with a clear conscience.  Nothing is said about the importance of the child’s spontaneous movements for it’s emotional health and natural development.  Nothing is said about the harm that restricting these movements does to the infant.

The reason for this upswing is twofold: First, mothers today are in less emotional touch with themselves and are in need of good advice.  (More and more “experts” are in the market  to give it.)  Second, in today’s anti-authoritarian, overly permissive society,  people have less muscular armor and therefore are generally more anxious than they were in the past.  For many, having a baby is fraught with anxiety and prospective parents  need to have their anxieties brought under control.  Armoring their babies by swaddling them  gives parents comfort and a sense of security.

Until mothers and fathers are in better emotional contact with their own and their children’s emotional needs, there is no hope that there will be any genuine improvement with the way newborns and babies are brought up.


  1. Hi Steph, I thought this was an interesting post. I don’t know if you know about swaddling, when the baby is wrapped firmly In blanket. It was popular when I was a baby, fell out of favor and is now coming back, I noticed in one of the pictures of Emily, the Baby was swaddled. In my opinion, I say No to swaddling and believe in baby being able to move freely. Anyhow, thought this interesting, especially the part about SIDS.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. The aspect of free mouvements during sleep is vital as well as the recognition of babies dreams on their expressions because both enter the realm of the body language on its natural idiosyncrasy.

  3. Freedom of movement is critical throughout the the animal world. If one restricts the movement of a snake it literally goes crazy. Horses are routinely put down if they brake a leg because of the physical consequences to their health. What happens to dogs who are routinely tied outside? They often get nasty. Spontaneous movement is essential to both physical and and mental health.

  4. Firstly I greatly admire this blog and what you cover, glad to see an admirer of Reich get it on the horrible left-wing fascism increasingly prevalent in our world today. I write that because I’m willing to bet so many ostensible admirers of Reich are caught up in that particular emotional plague, an irony entirely lost on them of course.

    However getting to the matter at hand, Charles Konia you write above:
    “Second, in today’s anti-authoritarian, overly permissive society, people have less muscular armor…”

    I guess I am going to let my ignorance of post-Reichian biodynamics and associated hang out here, so please forgive me if this comes across as a very stupid query.

    I had just assumed that people today have too much muscular armor, as their parents’ and grandparent’s generation had. Are you saying that now society has shifted so far to the opposite swing of the pendulum? Doesn’t the so-called anti-authoritarianism of our permissive society have its own stifling authoritarianism to it, and hence the mental and physiological patterning dependent on the former has not changed in a fundamental way? How are today’s generation any different in terms of their neuroses (I mean at a fundamental level, not merely superficial differences which are real enough) and thus muscular armory to previous generations, given Gen Xers conditioning to the worldviews and outlook of their parents and grandparents? Even if they are reacting to the previous generation, how would this result in such a radical alteration of mind-body dynamics and hence muscular armor?

    Sorry if this is wincing ignorance on my part, but can you point to an article/s at least where you or others go into details here on the lower levels of muscular armor among this generation (my own)?

    • In today’s anti-authoritarian society people’s armor has shifted from the musculature to the brain. The increased armor in the brain at the expense of muscular armor results in greater levels of contactlessness and of substitute contact than in the past authoritarian society. See my latest book, “Neither Left Nor Right.”

  5. OT, but…

    “Politics” from the biological core, not from the secondary layer and the facade!

  6. ouch ouch ouch..grisly…sends shivers down my spine to think of little babies alone at night bound up in this way..same territory as circumcision..the underlying sublimated goal is to kill life

  7. Had a mom come in for her visit with her 6 month old baby. He was carried into the exam room in his car seat looking apprehensive and scared. She took him out and he immediately became socially engaging and was able to sit with mom right through the whole office visit, exam and all, just taking in the whole thing. We all three had delightful visit and at the end he was able to be put back in into his car seat without much ado. To see the contact between the two of them was the highlight of my day.

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